scorecardI'm a Canadian who's lived in NYC and Toronto. Quality of life is better in Canada, but I still prefer the US.
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I'm a Canadian who's lived in NYC and Toronto. Quality of life is better in Canada, but I still prefer the US.

Anna Haines   

I'm a Canadian who's lived in NYC and Toronto. Quality of life is better in Canada, but I still prefer the US.
LifeThelife3 min read
  • I've spent years living between New York City and Toronto.
  • I prefer the United States even though the quality of living is better in Canada.

After eight years of living between New York City and Toronto, I find the quality of living is better in Canada.

For starters, Canada has universal healthcare and lower rates of crime.

And yet, as a Canadian, I still prefer living in the US — particularly New York City — over my home country. Here are just a few reasons.

I think Americans are friendlier than Canadians

The stereotype is that Canadians are nice, and I think that does hold true. But I find Canadians are more polite, and Americans are friendlier.

Canadians can be quite reserved — we keep to ourselves in public and typically only engage with others if they need help.

In my experience traveling across the US and meeting Americans abroad, Americans are often chattier than Canadians.

Some Canadians may think this behavior is obnoxious, but as someone who spends a lot of time alone, I relish the chance to have an unexpected conversation with a stranger.

Americans love pop culture, and so do I

I think pop culture is way more exciting in the US than in Canada.

Canada's a big player in the entertainment industry, but it doesn't always get credit. Canadian celebrities, like Ryan Gosling and Matthew Perry, are often mistaken as Americans.

Plus, Canada is frequently used as a filming location for movies and shows that are said to be set in the US on screen.

The culture around celebrities in the US feels different, too.

We Canadians love to gossip about stars, but in the US, the celebrity culture feels like its own kind of religion, discussed as zealously as politics.

The US also has a better selection of shows and movies to stream.

Canada has streamers like Amazon Prime, Apple TV, and Netflix, but the selection isn't as good as it is in the US. I can't watch popular streamers like Hulu, Max, and Peacock in Canada, either.

The variety of grocery stores in the US has also impressed me

There's not a lot of grocery-store competition in Canada, which also means there's not a ton of variety or competitively low prices.

I like Canadian grocers like Loblaws and Farm Boy, but a lot of the stores look the same to me. In the US, there are countless grocery chains, and within each unique store, a cornucopia of brands to discover.

In NYC alone, I can grocery shop at my corner bodega, a farmers market, Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Costco, Wegmans, Aldi, or Stop & Shop — and the selection in each place will be vastly different.

Even within certain food categories, like yogurt, I've found the US has more options when it comes to flavors and brands.

Of course, population plays a part, and NYC has more store variety than many places around the US. Still, I like that it's got way more options than even Canada's biggest city, Toronto.

And, overall, I much prefer shopping in the US

Consumer culture is the only thing that feels stronger than celebrity culture in the US.

I love the novelty of big American retailers like Target and Nordstrom, which are no longer in Canada.

And when I — in true Canadian fashion — feel like avoiding the crowds and want to shop online, I'd rather do it in the US.

A lot of global retailers I like offer fast, and sometimes even free, shipping within the US. When shopping online from Canada, I often wait several days or weeks for a delivery (if what I want is even available to ship to Canada).

Cellphone service is also way more affordable in the US

When I told my American friends that my friend in Toronto paid 100 Canadian dollars for a long-distance call from NYC, they were shocked. They didn't realize long-distance charges still existed.

I wasn't surprised — Canada's cellphone rates are among the highest in the world, especially when it comes to data plans.

Part of the problem is that Canada is a sparsely populated country with a lot of ground to cover with cellphone towers.

In the US, I've found lower rates and plans that give me better data access and coverage while traveling internationally.